Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Painting the Town Purple

My stepson Logan is a typical twelve-year-old boy with a good heart and sometimes with a tendency to get bored during the summer. Scout camp and hockey camp occupied his interests at the start of the break, but last week was more laid back with just one activity on his schedule. A dedicated sixth grade homeroom teacher has stayed in contact with her class via email to let them know about volunteer opportunities with the charity of their choice: the American Cancer Society. Early in the school year, each homeroom class at Redwood Middle School voted on a cause to support, with inspiration garnered from a school wide list of area charities. Logan's class narrowed their collective interests to three causes: Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, the local Humane Society chapter, and American Cancer Society. When the class took a vote, the Cancer Society won and Ms. Cornejo contacted their offices to find out what her class could do to help.

First, the students held a bake sale and made nearly $100 for the organization. Next, a cancer survivor from the community, Ms. Tomlin, visited the class with her real-life testimonial to promote understanding of the disease and to increase the students' desire to raise money and donate their good works
. According to Logan, this deeply affected him and his classmates and they became determined to do more, even if it took some time during the summer. Many children, like Logan, have a relative who has had cancer, so this is a cause close to their hearts.

When Ms. Cornejo sent out her group email a couple of weeks ago to come help "Paint the Town Purple," for Relay for Life, her students were engaged. Thirteen of them showed up with some parent chaperons to help tie ribbons on the trees along Big Basin Way for the upcoming Saratoga Relay for Life fundraising event at nearby Saint Andrews Episcopal Church July 24-25. The boys even did some "cold calling," walking into businesses to request a poster or brochure display and offering chocolates to express appreciation. Logan said it was a little scary going with his friends to approach business managers and owners, but a few of them were amenable and he felt a sense of accomplishment.

After dozens of purple ribbons were neatly tied, with Relay for Life posters and brochures distributed, the student teams with parents and dogs in tow headed to Yolatea for a frozen yogurt treat and some time to catch up and share vacation stories. Judging by these boys' smiles, the two-hour activity not only gave them an excuse to get together with friends over the summer; it gave them a sense of purpose and the knowledge that they too can make a difference!

Consider helping with publicity, attending the event, or sponsoring a walker.
  • Saratoga RFL is July 24-25 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Saratoga, CA.
  • Palo Alto RFL is August 14-15 at Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA.
  • Check the website for details:

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